Dave Simms column looks at Sheffield Steelers ‘royalty’

Jeff Legue - Sheffield Steelers' man for all seasons
Jeff Legue - Sheffield Steelers' man for all seasons

Just over a week ago Jeff Legue scored his 100th goal at the Sheffield Arena. As I sit here typing this article ahead of Wednesday night’s game at iceSheffield against Edinburgh, Legue sits on 249 EIHL goals, miles ahead of his closest all time challenger for EIHL goals and points.

Next Saturday against the Giants in Belfast Legue will play his 500th game for the Sheffield Steelers.

I think it’s about time we took Jeff Legue out of the “He is a very good player isn’t he” bracket and elevate him into “He is one of the great Steeler disciples”

I love my Steelers’ history. I love the past. I love talking about the days of Shudra, Plommer, Cranston, Priestlay and the rest of the old timers. Steelers’ greats of the past, rightly acknowledged by the fans with their memories and the club by retiring the number that those players wore and hanging their shirts in the arena rafters. Sometimes when we look back at the past we forget, or simply bypass what stands before us today. Us old Steeler fans perhaps harp on back to the “Good Old Days” too much. The reality is that if you only started watching the Steelers 10 years ago those names that hang in the rafters mean little to you and the likes of Legue, Hewitt, Sarich, Thomas and the fantastic captain that is Jonathan Phillips are your legends.

Those players who came through the Matsos era winning early championships in 2010 and 2011 grew with the club, they joined when times weren’t perhaps the best and helped us rebuild. They remained loyal and devoted themselves to Sheffield and the Steelers.

Jeff Legue has scored more than eight per cent of all Steelers goals at Sheffield Arena – think about that for a moment. We have scored now just over 1,200 goals and included in those were the lop sided blowouts in the early years of ED1 against the likes of the Isle of White, Chelmsford and Romford. Jeff Legue would play in any Steelers team of the past, he would have easily fitted into the Grand Slam side of 2001 – the best Steelers team of all time. Legue makes that team every day of the week, and if he makes that side he makes every side we have ever had.

Whether Jeff Legue has half a season, one and a half seasons or 15 seasons left he, at the end of his career should be treated in the same way and spoken about in the same breath as the likes of Shudra, Priestlay and Cranston. Elevated into the upper level of the clubs greats and have his shirt raised into the rafters at Broughton Lane – we can argue about what number we raise close to the date.

Legue has played games, scored goals, collected points but most of all he has helped the Steelers win. Multiple League titles and play off championships, he has taken the Steelers into Europe in the Continental Cup and this year the Champions Hockey League. He has played through a generation, he grew with the Steelers as the club grew with the league.

Jeff Legue has more than earned his stripes to Steelers greatness. He has more than paid his dues. He is Steelers royalty and we should be proud and delighted that he is one of our own.